Travelling to somewhere beautiful to relax and rejuvenate is one of life’s true pleasures, but not everywhere that cares about human wellness also cares about the wellness of planet and society. To help you travel more sustainably, we’ve picked five relaxing retreats, spas and resorts that are making more progress than many in the field of sustainability.
Hotel Chocolat, St Lucia
This inventive small hotel belonging to the Hotel Chocolat company sits right at the centre of their cocoa plantation and has sustainably built wooden lodges, a small pool and a resident massage therapist who offers chocolate-dedicated treatments using the antioxidant and mineral-packed cocoa grown on the estate. Try massages with cacao-oil infused with locally sourced nutmeg and cinnamon or scrubs of ground cocoa beans and coconut oil. Under its Engaging Ethics programme, the company tailors growing to help create truly sustainable cocoa growing communities, and guests can experience how the chocolate is made on site. Read more.
Sinai do Vale, Brazil
Nestled in Brazil’s lush Atlantic Rainforest, this remarkable retreat and organic farm has six stucco houses set in a tranquil, hidden valley and is a guardian of over 400 acres of rare and diverse rainforest. Rejuvenate in the spa, swim in the natural pools, wander the peaceful organic gardens, take a dip in the magical waterfalls, go hiking through the forest, get back to nature. You can learn about the environment through Sinai do Vale’s impressive on-site projects here too. Read more.
Banyan Tree Laguna Lăng Cô, Vietnam
This golf and spa resort by the East Sea has been built sustainably to reduce energy use and waste production and to honour traditional architecture. The spa’s treatments pivot on locally sourced and produced Cajuput Oil, traditionally known for its healing benefits, which is bought directly from the nearby communities of Loc Th uy and Loc Tien who make it. Spa staff are local and trained well to help them progress in their career by the Banyan Tree Spa Academy. You can also do yoga here and take classes in local arts such as Vietnamese cooking and lantern making. EarthCheck Silver Certified. Read more.
Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island
Capella Lodge is a stylish nine-suite sustainably built beach house on magnificent Lord Howe, a tiny World Heritage island in the Pacific Ocean. It minimizes impact on the unique environment and reduces energy consumption in everything they do, from their solar power system, rainwater capture and green-energy ethanol fireplaces to a design that maximizes natural ventilation and sunlight. There’s an outdoor hot tub and plunge pool, and you can have traditional Australian Kodo massages with a resident therapist. A local naturalist guide will take you walking or biking, and delicious meals include fresh-caught kingfish and tuna with local wines. Read more.
Adler Mountain Lodge, Italy
This spacious 30-suite lodge in the heart of the pristine Dolomites has been made entirely of sustainably-sourced natural mountain wood from the region, each plank hand-planed by a craftsman. The spa uses extracts, oils and skin-care products based on Alpine herbs and meadows for massages and body treatments, and top notch meals focus on creative regional South Tyrolean cuisine using ingredients sourced directly from committed growers. The area is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, which you can explore by day using the hotel’s eco-electric minibus or on guided walking, biking, night sledging and skiing tours. A local astronomer can tell you about the stars all year round. Buy some of their delicious signature Pralines - for every box sold helps support a water project for families in Namibia. Read more.